United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Live Purposefully

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is incredible to watch and be a part of a group of people who are all walking out their purpose. Yesterday, despite the challenges of separation, new learning, and all of the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with remote education and running a household (many with children of our own), there was a clear demonstration of so much good, as choosing to love people was and continues to be a clear priority. Our office manager, finance wizard, vice principal, and likely a few others, orchestrated a birthday parade for our principal. Many staff members gathered in the designated parking lot a short distance from her home to coordinate, decorate and caravan together in a parade of cars through her neighborhood. Seeing the smiling faces of fellow staff members and catching up with these dear friends, filled my heart with so much good. The look of surprise and joy on our principal’s face as the parade of vehicles kept rounding through her cul-de-sac, was fantastic. Despite the struggle of being apart and not being able to do our jobs in the way we all are accustomed to doing them, there is good that is coming out of this season, none the less. Personally, I am so grateful that these are the people who are chosen to walk out a similar purpose in this season with me. Though each of us come from different places, spaces and experiences, we are united in purpose as we seek to teach kids and love our community well. God really is able to orchestrate good and beautiful things in every season, as we earnestly seek Him and walk out the life to which we have been called. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading and continue ever moving forward in love.

 

We know that the Lord, wp-15887743558471974361042245095214.jpg

Can work ALL for good;

We need to pursue,

Live the life we should.

For we are each called,

And made with intent;

With strength and purpose,

Designed, heaven-sent.

Even in hard times,

There’s much good to see;

As we seek to serve,

Live purposefully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose, as we seek to love You and love people well. Thank You that as we move forward in these things, we see the good that You bring, even in trying times. Forgive us for our frustration with timing and circumstances. Teach us to trust Your timing – for You alone know the beginning and the end, and what is best. Show us how to love those around us well in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for purpose and for the good that You can bring in all things. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into Him, the anointed Head of His body, the church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TPT)  

 

This is such a critical element to growing together as a body. It is not merely speaking the truth, but speaking the truth in love. There is a dramatic difference. Truth in love seeks to help, heal, correct, and make better, every situation and circumstance with ultimate good as the goal. The intent should never be to harm, but rather be to help grow in likeness to Christ. Additionally, we must be careful with our own walk, before we become concerned with the decisions of those around us. Of course, we can care, but in order to be a loving bearer of truth, we must be living out the truth we speak, daily. To speak truth anywhere, there first must be trust. Trust only comes through invested time in relationship. If we are to grow and become mature as a body of believers, we have to be willing to break down barriers, get to know and trust one another, so that we are able to grow together. As we do, speaking the truth in love becomes a “normal” practice, in the same way it does between dear friends, healthy spouses, and various other relationships that are built on trust. May we seek the Lord to grow and mature us in our trusting relationships with Him and those around us, so that we may always speak the truth in love, in the same way that He speaks to us.

 

May truth be spoken,Speak the Truth in Love

Ever wrapped in love;

With intent to grow,

Heart like God above.

For when there is trust,

There’s a heart to hear;

What will lead to good,

As love removes fear.

To grow together,

In trust and God’s good;

Let love lead in truth,

To do as we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to speak the truth in love. Jesus came and taught, loved, corrected, redirected, and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and grow together as a body. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without love or without truth; the absence of either is not the way You intended for us to grow. Teach us to trust and rely on You to show us how to build and establish relationships that are full of trust, so that there is safety to always speak the truth in love. Show us how to love those around us in word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people, ever seeking to speak the truth in love for Your glory. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Praise in the Process

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

 

Our purpose is to honor God in all that we say and do, and praise Him in the process. Everything we are, all that we have, and our capacity to do all things, is courtesy of Christ and all that He gave on our behalf. Because of God’s great love for us, it is only fitting and right that every word, thought and deed of ours is with the intent to honor the Lord. Without Him, there would be no life, no love, and no hope. In Christ, we have all these things and so much more. May we ever seek to honor the Lord in all that we do and say, giving thanks to God every step of each new day.

Today, I am extraordinarily grateful for a short work week, as I can hardly stand the wait to go and see my mom and sister and family for Thanksgiving. The short week is quite full, so I anticipate the days moving rather quickly, with Thursday being upon us before we know it. Our family has a list of favorites together, and mom reminded me last evening of the preparations being made, and how ready my sister and brother-in-love’s household are for our arrival. May we honor the Lord in the wait, and give Him thanks as we navigate our time between now and when we gather.

 

May all of my life, Be Full of Joy

Each word, thought and deed;

Give honor to God,

And follow His lead.

May each step I take,

Remind me to praise;

To thank God above,

For life all my days.

All that I can do,

In this life given;

May the Lord’s light shine,

Through each decision.

With thanks I choose rise,

And begin this day;

Place all in His hands,

Seek walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You remain God with us. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in our every word, thought and deed as we seek Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and have spoken or acted in ways that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead and guide us to walk in Your light. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and give thanks for Your goodness and grace that leads us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Joy in the Right Words at the Right Time

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! – (Proverbs 15:23, NIV)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

Words are a powerful weapon; forces of good that extend hope and life and encouragement, or they can become spears hurled at the heart – even when the intent is not harm. When our words land well, we find joy in knowing that the intent and application aligned. However, when words fall flat, or far worse, the desire for a rewind option or the ability to withdraw and delete that which was not received as life-giving is huge. This is where it is critical to remember the power of our words, so that we might pause, take a breath, and think clearly before speaking. God is faithful to provide as we abide in Him. Though we are human, as are the recipients of our words, and each are subject to missteps and misinterpretations, when we seek the Lord and trust in Him to guide our heart, there are far more moments of joy in the right words at the right time.

To update on mom, after Friday’s trifecta of therapies, it was determined that she will be phasing into outpatient therapy within the next few weeks. This is a fantastic graduation of sorts, as outpatient facilities have far more tools to work with to propel mom forward on her healing journey. The challenge remaining will be the logistics and working out the details. Thankfully, mom has two great caregivers that alternate days with her while Meg and Scott are at work. Terry and Angela should be able to coordinate and take mom to her appointments as she makes the change to the new. It will be good, but as always, a covering in prayer for new therapists and all of the details, as well as mom’s ongoing healing, are greatly appreciated.

 

A timely answer,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So apt a reply;

Joy to the speaker,

Grace none can deny.

And how sweet the words,

At just the right time;

To bless, encourage,

Show that love is kind.

Our words have power,

To give life, build up;

To love others well,

Seek to fill their cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes when we are trusting in You to respond to those around us. Thank You for the times that our words are received as they are intended. Forgive us for the times that we have used our words flippantly, grossly unaware of the impact they might have on those around us. Teach us to pause and filter our words through Your lens, as Your heart is to bless and extend love. Show us how to love those around us with our words, each time we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the words we are meant to speak. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Simply Love

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, NIV)

The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love – love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. – (1 Timothy 1:5, MSG)

For we reach the goal of fulfilling all the commandments when we love others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, TPT)

 

Love really is the whole point. When we operate from a heart that is pure and our intent on choosing to love, we are living our faith out loud. Our motivation for all that we do, must be rooted in love. When it is, we are operating in a sincere faith, with a clear conscience, from a heart made pure by He who is love. If we truly love from a pure heart, we cannot envy, hate, boast, be unkind, or the like. Love conquers all. I imagine that is why it is said that “the greatest of these, is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) As we step into a new day, at the start of a new week, may we be open to God with a sincere faith so that we may navigate our days with a clean conscience and a pure heart, and choose to simply love.

 

Love is the answer,img_2019-10-21_04-51-388940558814875978805.jpg

To all of life’s woes;

For the love of God,

Multiplies and grows.

It purifies hearts,

Makes consciences clean;

Through a sincere faith,

We learn what love means.

The more that we learn,

The more we choose give;

Love from a pure heart,

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. Thank You that as we seek You and pursue a life lived according to Your calling, You empower us to love. Forgive us for allowing our selfishness, bitterness, anger or fear to get in the way of choosing love. Show us how to love those around us simply and purely, in a way that demonstrates love tangible to each heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You wholeheartedly so that we may love unreservedly. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13